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96fm (call-sign: 6NOW) is a radio station broadcasting in Perth, Western Australia.

96FM Logo.jpg
Broadcast area Perth
Slogan Perth's Best Music
Frequency 96.1 MHz FM
First air date 1980
Format CHR/rock
ERP 40 kW
Owner Fairfax Media



96fm began broadcasting on 96.1 MHz on August 8, 1980 as Perth's first commercial FM radio station. The first record played at the 4pm launch was Steely Dan's "FM (No Static at all)" with Gordon O'Byrne the first live "jock" to air.

Throughout the 1980s 96fm provided groundbreaking innovation for Perth radio listeners. In 1981 the highly successful Gold Pass was launched. This provided holders access to obtain discounts at retailers for goods such as CD's, clothing, concert tickets, car audio & security to name but a few. The rationale for launching the Gold Pass was so the station could raise extra revenue (minimum was a $5000 spend) without doing OB's (outside broadcasts).

In 1982 96fm became the 1st radio station in Australia to play music from CD. The song was Toto's "Rosanna". From then on the station's old library of vinyl records and carts was replaced with CD's.

Amongst some of the most successful radio promotions in the stations history include 'Rockwords' where listeners could win $10,000 cash for correctly completing a cross-word in the daily West Australian newspaper. The station broadcast the clues on an hourly basis. Another hallmark promotion was the 'Top 96 Albums of alltime' and what was then the annual 'Skyshow'.

By 1985, 96fm had reached #1 in the Perth radio ratings for the first time although 990 6PM on the AM band continued to be a strong number 2 for the remainder of the decade until 6PM converted to FM in 1991 as 92.9 6PMFM, then PMFM and now 92.9.

96fm was the sole commercial FM station in Perth until 1991. 6PM and 6KY successfully bid for the right to convert from the AM band to FM in the early 1990s.

In 1993, Village Roadshow, owners of the Triple M network in the eastern states, took over the financially stricken FM Australia (formerly Hoyts Media). Not more than six months later 96fm was relaunched as a Triple M, albeit with the Today Network CHR music format, as opposed to the harder rock format of its eastern Triple M counterparts. The revamped station failed to make a major impact up against its FM rivals.

In 1996 as Triple M, with flagging ratings and finances the station dropped organising the annual Skyshow. The event was subsequently handed over to both the WA State Government and the City of Perth. Due to copyright ownership restrictions associated with the name the event has been rebranded 'Skyworks'. It's still the same 30 minutes of TNT going bang over Perth water in time to a soundtrack broadcast on one of the local FM radio stations.

In 1997, Village Roadshow subsidiary Austereo purchased PMFM and KYFM from local entrepreneur Jack Bendat. Australian media ownership laws required the divestiture of the station, and Village Roadshow subsequently sold it to Southern Cross Broadcasting which also owned AM radio station 6PR.

Southern Cross returned the station back to its original 96fm branding, with a new logo. However the station has never been able to recapture the number 1 position in the Perth radio ratings. By the final ratings period for 2008[1] the station had slumped to 10.3% overall. The key breakfast & drive shifts were in single figures.[2]

In 2007 96fm was part of the acquisition of Southern Cross by Fairfax Media. The Macquarie Bank Media fund Macquarie Media Group paid Southern Cross $1.26b. Then in a contingent party deal Macquarie Media onsold all of SCB radio assets to Fairfax Media. Macquarie Media retained the regional television assets. The niche assets such as the production company Endemol and other businesses like Satellite Music Australia were bought by Fairfax Media Ltd.[3]

Fairfax recently announced to the Australian Stock Exchange on 21 January 2009 that it had sold its TV production company Southern Star Endemol for $75 million and previously Carnival Film & Television for $120 million. Receiving less than half of what was originally paid.


96fm transmits on 96.1 MHz across Perth and surrounding areas. It currently transmits on the Perth Radio Services tower adjacent to the Channel 7 tower in Television Rd, Bickley. Its ERP is 40KW omni-directional, which is the standard of the commercial FM stations in Perth. As well as covering Perth, 96fm can be heard as far North as New Norcia, South to Waroona and East to Northam. The studio itself, however, is located at 169 Hay Street, East Perth.

Previously the studios were located at 111 Wellington St East Perth from 1983–1998. Before moving over to Wellington St the station was located on Terrace Rd East Perth. 1980–1983.

Originally when the station first went to air in 1980 the transmitter facilities were shared with the STW9 tower. However the advent of mobile phone networks, problems associated with site crowding plus the impending launch of 6PM & 6KY onto FM led to the establishment of the Perth FM radio group site.

The programme is fed over a microwave link from East Perth to Bickley. Each of the FM stations on the site has an STL collection dish. The feed is picked up, decoded, and then fed into an exciter. At this point the 19 kHz sub audio pilot tone is injected. This enables FM receivers to show the 'FM Stereo' light as 'on'. Then after leaving the rack in the hut, the signal is fed into a combiner. In this way the transmission facilities are shared at the tower and the antenna array.

As a standby measure the stations can feed programme over a 128k/bit ISDN link using a broadcast codec. However data charges on ISDN make this uneconomic to do full time.

96fm is also available on DAB+ Digital Radio in Perth.


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